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June 2, 2009 | by  | in Theatre |
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Phil Patston—A bit of what he’s got


Did you know that Phil Patston is openly disabled (what does that mean?) and gay? (I like men too, so “represent?”) I did, I had figured it out from the blurb of his pamphlet, and from vague memories of him on Pulp Comedy when I was a tween. For you see years ago, Phil Patson won an award. A Billy T Award which is a pretty high honour. It’s the Kiwi Comedy Guild’s version of the Paraparaumu College Principal’s Award for Outstanding Excellence in Chemistry, a much sought-after prize from an august organisation that recognises an outstanding talent from a small pool. In this case, chemistry students in Paraparaumu. Being a man more interested in comedy than the incorrect science taught to secondary school students I took this for a sign of quality and went along to his gig at the Fringe Bar.

His show was one where he told stories, talked to the audience and read some poems. As a performer he’s quite engaged with the audience and when nattering to them there was a sense of play that was rather delightful. However, I didn’t enjoy his show that much, peeps. I found it moved quite slowly, and that some how I had absorbed most of his jokes well before the punchlines came. Using my ability to retrospect I believe it’s just because some of his stories were ancient. The central stories in his act were about things that he’s obviously moved well away from by now, his ten? fifteen? twenty minutes? of being on Shortland Street 10 years ago, where aparantly he was Waverly’s boyfriend Josh that stole coffee, was well practiced yet mirthless. He also did an extravagantly long story about being a vegetarian before revealing that he wasn’t one any more and how betrayed people felt about putting up with his vegetarianism for nothing. I felt the same way, to be honest.

The last part of his show was full of his poetry, and you know what? I enjoyed the first couple, but… Fuck it, it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room. He talks slowly and is slightly hard to understand thanks to his motor skills being messed up. On the plus side, performatively, this means that his quips can be much slower and therefore better evolved than the usual charismatic comedian, a situation he exploits expertly. However, it also means that it takes him a while to get through something like a poem than it usually would. This means that unless his poems are frightfully awesome you’re going to be sitting there bored, itchy and listening to bad poetry. His last poem of his set was actually rather short, snappy and quite funny so I was glad to leave the show on a high note, we’d had more fun than not fun, you know? Then some fucker called out ‘Encore! Encore!’ And then he did one that he’d cut because “it’s pretty long guys.” I got so itchy.

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Nic Sando is a god amongst men, fifteen fathoms high he be, with strange and wyrd powers at his disposal. Only a fool won't harken his ears to the east when he hears The Sando man stumping his way.

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